So: Friday after work, Dr. Z. and I drive down to the fine resort town of Lake George. Registration and bike check-in (a nice perk) go without a hitch and before we know it we're sitting at a nice microbrewery enjoying some fine beer and cheeseburgers.
We check in at our hotel and my stomach starts hurting. Like, REALLY hurting. Not queasiness from race day nerves but burning-on-fire severe heartburn. Dr. Z. offers up some Pepto, but it doesn't help and I am up ALL NIGHT in agony (but not enough to think that I needed medical care.)
So 5:00 comes and I get up (already awake anyway). Stomach is STILL killing me and I'm not sure what to do - I've never gotten sick before a race before and here I am two hours before the gun unable to even sip enough water to take my morning medications. Dr. Z. convinces me to get my stuff together since we're here anyway and I have two hours to feel better.
Even at the race site, we're now down to one hour and I'm wondering how I'm going to manage to set up transition, forget RACE. I get my chip, get marked, transition in place, and it's time to wetsuit up. I still feel queasy (though not QUITE as bad) and have not had so much as a sip of water since dinner the night before.
|My sassy pre-race face, which is really my "Forcing a grin because my stomach has me about to puke" face|
|My wave about to go off.|
I started off REAL easy since I wasn't feeling well. I was in a "let's just SURVIVE this for now" mindset. I had a MUCH better start than two years ago, where I lost the pack right at the beginning after inhaling a bunch of water, but still ended up way off the back as usual. This also meant NO feet to follow. There was an interesting cross-currant that made it hard to stay straight, but I was pretty happy with my lines.
I had trouble sighting after the last buoy since it was so dark and overcast, but found feet for the last few hundred meters that helped me get back to shore. I was SHOCKED when I looked at my watch and saw 37 minutes. THREE minutes faster than two years ago!
|Staring at my watch in shock as I come out of the water.|
I was so elated I actually RAN the long run to transition, passing several people. Wetsuit came off like a dream, shoes slid on, and I was out of there. FASTEST IN MY AGE GROUP AND SIXTH FASTEST OVERALL FOR WOMEN. Yep, even when I step down to the Oly distance, my transitions are SWEET.
So I get on the bike, elated over being out of the swim and transition so quickly, and this time I'm mentally prepared for the long climb at the start.
|Big grin heading out. And yes, a huge hank of wet hair OVER my sunglasses and my inhaler is sticking out of my top. Sexy and I know it.|
The first thing I do is put a couple chews down the hatch now that I'm finally hungry. I realize that I'm already in the hole and the rest of the race will be staving off The Bonk, but I simply couldn't get any calories in earlier. I get to work, keeping it comfortably hard so I can really run people down. Unfortunately, I have nothing for the climbs - I'm a small rider and was still getting passed on the uphills and passing on the flats and descents. I actually do great on the flat section, averaging around 19-21 MPH and passing people like crazy. Too bad the OTHER 22 miles were hills. *G* I do something I usually wouldn't do and slow at the aid station for a fresh bottle of water since 1.) it's humid as my crotch and 2.) I started the race dehydrated. First time I'm able to do a moving hand-up! Yay! Bike handling achievement UNLOCKED.
I don't have the searing split/time improvement I had at Tinman, but take three minutes off my previous time, coming in at a coach-predicted 1:30.
|My ass and I coming into T2. You're welcome.|
My running shoes fold a little, making me only the THIRD-fastest one in my AG, but otherwise smooth transition. I do grab my cap (a mistake, but I'm self-conscious about my helmet hair), stuff my Garmin down my top, and boogie.
|Heading out on the run and putting on the Garmin|
|Preparing to toss my cap to Dr. Z. Also a great example of my "PLEASE KILL ME NOW" hurt face.|
I tossed my cap to Dr. Z. and started throwing water on my head, but it didn't help much since it was a humid heat with still air and overcast. The minute the water warmed up, it ceased helping since there was no evaporation.
|Steep downhill on the last mile = WORST RUNNING FORM EVER.|
So, my run was a definite disappointment, but while I can't do anything about the weather or getting sick, I need to get serious about hitting hills before I do this race again.
|Heading to the finish line in the Park.|
I crossed the line in 3:08 - a TEN MINUTE improvement from two years ago. On an empty and upset stomach on a muggy, sticky day. DAMN. Still not even MOP, but I came in about 50 places further up overall than last time. I do feel the need to go back because I know with better training (and with luck better weather an no illness) I can do better. I have a fire in my belly now, in a good way.